February 10, 2022
More perfectly imperfect hearts please.
Bright, colorful, happy, love, playful – these are the words that come to mind when your meet Kerri Rosenthal and when you see her designs. We met Kerri in LA in March of 2020 and placed our first order just before the world shut down for the pandemic. As we all struggled to regain our footing, Kerri’s message of love and happiness was just the thing that everyone needed, and when we opened again full time, her designs flew off the shelves.
Kerri was raised in Brooklyn New York and attended NYU. She spent some time in Europe and worked at Oilily, the boldly colored and patterned Dutch children’s clothing line, for ten years – which has influenced her designs. She started painting about 15 years ago when she picked up a paint set and began experimenting in her basement. At work, during conference calls, her notes were always filled with doodles and hearts, so her paintings became a natural extension of those drawings. When she brought her art up into the light of the kitchen and showed them to her friends, they were delighted and immediately wanted to buy them. Kerri was officially inspired. A couple of years later she had a one-night show and sold every piece. Her background as a designer led her to think of incorporating her art into her design work - wallpaper, fabric, pillows, etc. Finally in 2016 she decided it was time to open a store of her own. She opened a small space and dabbled in her “blocks of love” among other art pieces. They only lasted a year in the space before moving to a bigger location, where they continued to experiment with transferring Kerri’s artwork to a small collection of sweaters, t-shirts, and other wearables.
Kerri is a fan of Picasso and Pollack, but mostly she is inspired by fashion. Yet her designs are timeless - they do not follow a trend - the print and color make it uniquely Kerri. You could almost say she has started her own genre. The process begins with one of Kerri’s mixed-media paintings, the team chooses a few of their favorites and then they send them out to be scanned on a variety of wearables and homeware items and see where it works best and if it needs to be tweaked for the ideal result. They then choose what they love and what makes them happy, because that tends to be what their customers choose as well.
Kerri’s happy place is creating her art, but she is a driven entrepreneur as well. She has a spirited work ethic and touches every piece of the business from the design to the merchandising, and even responding to customer service reviews personally. She believes art should be accessible, so her designs come in almost every price point and appeal to a wide variety of people. This has allowed her business to grow organically, and marketing has been mostly through word of mouth. A teenager comes in and buys a $38 block of love for her mom for Mother’s Day, and then the mom visits the store and buys a sweater, her friend buys a blanket, and the ball keeps rolling. There is an amazing community of women in Westport, CT, where Kerri started her business, and with their support and communications (social media/blogs) the wholesale business doubled in volume last year and they expect it to double again in 2022. In the past year their staff has grown from 8 to 22 people, and, like most companies, they are currently looking for more employees. The popularity of Kerri’s style and message continues to expand. Her clothing line is extremely versatile – from work to kids’ soccer game and restyled for dinner out. In the future she is doing some exciting collaborations and potentially opening another store location.
One of the things that motivates Kerry and her daughter Ali, who is an integral part of the business, is the people who reach out and tell them heartwarming stories about how they were having a hard time and that Kerri’s designs helped them to get through it, or they were able to give some of Kerri’s art as gifts to brighten someone’s day. Drop into The Collective this month and get your own piece of Kerri’s Happy Movement, we have sweaters, pillows, blocks of love and more!